Senior Artist & Student Leader Spotlight: Liam Jamolod

A man sits next to a box.

Image Courtesy of Ryn Cole

By Katherine Plunkett

As the graduation for the Class of 2024 approaches, senior art and marketing double major Liam Jamolod reflected on his time at CUA. 

Starting off freshman year as a Marketing major, Jamolod was interested in applying his creativity to the business industry. After taking some art classes, adding an art minor, and reflecting on a calling to go into medicine, he switched to an art and marketing double major with a pre-med track.

“I feel my entire life I’ve done art. I went to a communications-based high school so I did a lot of graphic design stuff there, and then I wanted to try new things, so I wanted to do sculpture here,” Jamolod said. “In medicine there is a need for communication, a need for creative ways of thinking, so I want to contribute that to the spirit of medicine.”

Jamolod is currently showing his artwork in Salve Regina Gallery as part of his Senior Thesis Exhibition, which opened on Thursday, April 4. Pieces included a wide range of sculpture, including ceramics, cardboard, glass, and repurposed traditional Filipino clothing. Discussing the inspiration behind his work, he shared the impact of his involvement in F.O.C.U.S., the Filipino Organization of Catholic University Students, and his friend Justine Talamayan, who encouraged him to apply to CUA while she was a student. 

“Joining [F.O.C.U.S.], I learned about being Filipino and my heritage in general, so I wanted to bring my experience being a Filipino-American and my whole life growing up with this identity as Filipino-American, which I didn’t really understand until coming here, to a PWI [Predominantly White Institution],” Jamolod explained. “I wanted to translate that into digital art and all types of sculpture. I made a bunch of pieces talking about intergenerational trauma.”

Diving deeper into his exhibition, Jamolod spoke about one sculpture titled Balikbayan Box, which comes from the boxes of goods that people will send to their relatives in the Philippines from overseas. For this piece, he drew phrases thaT he would hear from his family growing up, with topics ranging from body type to career choices.

 “On the top I made little lotus flowers out of shattered alcohol bottles to represent resilience…growing above the obstacles that Filipino culture may have put into place…the culture is very beautiful, but there are just some segments that translate poorly and are rather toxic. It’s all about analyzing what’s happening and then breaking those chains.” 

If there is one thing Jamolod is known for at CUA, it is his avid campus involvement. Currently, he is the co-president of F.O.C.U.S., student coordinator of events and marketing for the Office of Campus Activities, a part of the Program Board street team, vice president of the Lambda Epsilon Omicron Honors Society, and a member of the Honors Program. In the past, he was the student leader of the Los Angeles Immersion trip and a Cardinal Service Corps leader for the McKenna Center. 

Of all of these experiences, one of his favorites was the L.A. Immersion trip. 

“The first time I went, I didn’t know what to expect and honestly going through that experience pushed me to want to continue service for the rest of my life, to want to serve underserved people,” Jamolod said. “To be in community with those people for a week, the people that you went with and the people you met there, there are so many things that you can’t really forget.” 

When asked about favorite D.C. spot, he shared a memory from his freshman year. 

“Me and my friends, anytime it was sunny, after classes we would go to the side of Abraham Lincoln just to watch the sunset. That is all we did. We would get on the metro, walk twenty minutes from wherever we landed, and just sit there, listen to music, just talk, watch the sunset, and it was just so therapeutic.”

After graduation, Jamolod will be working at a D.C. summer camp, to return as a lead instructor of art and woodworking. In mid-August, he will be enrolled in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and working with San Diego Youth Services to serve foster kids and families in California. Afterward, Jamolod plans to attend medical school.

As graduation approaches, Jamolod reflected on his time at CUA and some of his favorite memories, such as spending time outside with everyone freshman year because of COVID-19 restrictions and being in the “COVID class.” Some of his other favorites are simply hanging out by the Basilica listening to music and acting in senior theology and religious studies major Ellie Bixenman’s short film.

“I’m excited to see the future, what everything has to hold,” Jamolod said. “[I’m] very proud to have made it this far. Proud of what I’ve done and proud of what I’m going to do.”

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